Today we want to share some updates that we recently shared with our team. 

Journalism is going through a process of evolution, and change is inherent in that process. There are a few transitions happening at Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting in the coming months, including our transition to a new board chair this month and the departures of Editor in Chief Matt Thompson in March and CEO Christa Scharfenberg later this year.

To begin, Phil Bronstein, who has been on our board since 2006 and executive chair of the board since 2012, is stepping down to devote more time to writing. Bronstein brought his passion for investigative journalism, along with his keen insights, to both the editorial and business sides of the industry to our board. He oversaw our merger with The Bay Citizen in 2012 and led the organization through the launch of the Reveal radio show and podcast, the expansion of our television and documentary work, and the development of our deep commitment to collaboration with local news outlets. He passionately advocated for our work to raise the resources needed to increase our funding base over the years. We can’t thank him enough for guiding Reveal with such a steady hand for so many years. 

Replacing Bronstein as board chair is Rob King, who joined our board in 2016. A lifelong journalist, King currently is senior vice president and editor at large for ESPN content. During his many years and roles at ESPN, he has overseen much of its enterprise and investigative reporting – he knows and understands our work. He had a career in newspapers before ESPN and got his start in sports journalism at The Philadelphia Inquirer when Robert Rosenthal, former Reveal executive director and current board member, made him deputy sports editor. King is able to weave together his deep understanding of what it means to work day to day in newsrooms with his insightful perspective on the industry as a whole. We’re thrilled he will helm the board.

In addition to the board leadership transition, Thompson, our editor in chief, is leaving Reveal this spring. He will join The New York Times as editor of Headway, a new initiative to investigate economic, social, health, infrastructural and environmental problems globally and nationally. During his tenure at Reveal, Thompson led the newsroom through a period of critical work (including our reporting on COVID-19, Amazon and the uprising against racial violence), made key editorial hires, and undertook essential equity and inclusion work that will serve the organization for years to come. His last day will be March 5.

And finally, after 18 years at CIR, Scharfenberg, our CEO, has made the decision to transition out of the organization in 2021. During her time at Reveal, she has been a leader in its growth from a small nonprofit news organization, producing a handful of stories a year, to the thriving national multiplatform newsroom that it is today. She helped launch our statewide reporting initiative California Watch in 2009, oversaw key aspects of the merger with The Bay Citizen in 2012, managed the launch and growth of the Reveal public radio show and podcast, and has served as executive producer of award-winning documentaries for Reveal. The Board of Directors will announce plans for the search for a new CEO soon; Scharfenberg will remain in her position until a new leader is selected.

So what’s next for Reveal?

Our finances are strong; our leadership team is experienced, accomplished and deeply committed; and our reporting continues to be award-winning and consistently leads to real-world impact. We’ve built a collaborative newsroom model that is unique and valued by our partners, and Reveal remains one of the top podcasts in the country. 

Annie Chabel, our chief operating officer, will be assuming an expanded role to manage the leadership transition, and Sumi Aggarwal, our director of collaborations, has been promoted to a newsroomwide management role. We anticipate a seamless transition over the course of the year. 

Over the years, we have reinvented Reveal again and again, to be relevant and viable in the shifting journalistic landscape. As we emerge from the pandemic, enter the post-Trump era and face unimaginable disinformation and polarization, we will continue to carve out a distinctive and impactful place in that landscape.

Later this year, we’re looking forward to launching our second podcast serial (check out our first highly acclaimed one, American Rehab, here!) and completing production on two documentary films. As always, we have a full slate of investigations underway on immigration, policing, the climate, gender and other issues. And we’re expanding our team (learn more about job opportunities).

We have always been dedicated to deep, community-driven, impactful investigative reporting. Our team is strong and committed, and we look forward to growing and setting the course for the future of our organization. 

Our collaborative public service journalism – which consistently seeks to expose abuses of power and injustice that the most vulnerable communities among us face – is needed now more than ever. As a nonprofit, our bottom line is the public interest. That’s what has driven us for the past 44 years and will continue to do so in 2021 and beyond. 

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